Thursday, December 26, 2013



When a journal celebrates the story of Henry Dawson's 'agape' penicillin ,which he so freely released into the medical public domain 75 years ago, it is best to act similarly.

 So the journal articles of Dawson's project will go into the literary public domain ,as archived html blog posts and as print version story-papers.

(Read more about what exactly is a story-paper)

So, just like Dawson's agape penicillin, the "All Life is Family" series of stories will be freely available to everyone, particularly to people who could not normally afford to buy them.

Consider them more like "Tracts for our Commensal Age" than your typical commercial New York Times bestselling potboiler .

The story of Dawson's project is actually a pretty big story (almost as big as the global war itself).

 So rather like a short story cycle or roman fleuve , it will be broken into maybe sixty or so smaller ones, at natural internal climaxes.

This is all with the intent to make it easier to read or download each story-paper freely.

Each of those sixty or so story-papers will treat its particular chief protagonist fairly, but I hope the cumulative effect from the clash of their different takes on reality circa WWII, will provoke as much reflection as enjoyment in the reader.

The Dawson project stories can all be freely read , in their entirety , as scattered and intermittent posts and remained archived and available forever on this blog.

 Thankfully, the blog will have an index page to make finding all of them , in the proper chronological order, very easy.

Directing your mobile browser to my blog will be the best way to read them on tiny mobile phone screens.

But in addition, each blog post on Dawson's project will have a link to Google Docs, to download the free PDF of the story-paper.

Thus journal readers will also be able to download all the sixty or so stories ,as a 21st century story-paper.

A 19th century story-paper was simply today's tabloid newspaper but devoted 100% to non-news stories.

With no expensive hardcovers or binding or spine for a title, the story-paper was unattractive to regular booksellers but distributed to subscribers by mail, it was the cheapest way to get literature to a mass public.

Distributing Dawson's stories this way will be in homage to him and to my university's (Dalhousie) chief benefactor, story-paper publisher George Munro), who did so much to democratize print and literature for people of all incomes.

Like myself, Dawson also attended Dalhousie.

In addition he was raised in the same Pictou County Scottish Presbyterian tradition as was Munro.

Those these 21st century story-papers have been made into downloadable pre-imposed PDFs, for easy printing out as a complete chapbook-sized work, individually and without charge.

Because they are all in the Public Domain, like agape penicillin , you are free to copy them, pass them on or adapt them - even bind them into bigger 'books' and sell them for profit under your own name if you wish.

Just spread their message of hope, as if it was a penicillium spore in the wind.

And I won't mind : because passing on their message of hope - not making money - is what matters.

Each story-paper will be illustrated by my own color drawings , designed to 'degrade gracefully' (as computer types are wont to say) into black, white and gray illustrations.

This is to make them suitable for economic printing on black and white printers or for reading on older ebook readers.

Both the electronic blog posts and printed story-papers have the advantage of being 'open all night' and of being readily accessible all around the world.

Now there is a big disadvantage in not making these stories into a conventional for-sale 'book'.

 Very few book reviewers, whether working for a big newspaper or running their own small not-for-profit blog, will review a free (and worse: PUBLIC DOMAIN !) series of related stories.

It isn't just book reviewers who vote for capitalist parties at election time either - you'd be surprised just how adamantly left wing and green reviewers favour for-profit books and authors and despise not-for-profit authors.

Altruism and book reviewing simply don't seem to mix.

I believe the reason is that even non-paid book reviewers all secretly hope to become paid book reviewers one day and they know that will be totally depend upon reviewing the sort of commercial books from publishers that buy ads in their employers' media outlet that ultimately go back to pay book reviewers' wages.

('Scratch my back and I will scratch yours'.)

No doubt the professionals were just as suspicious in 1940 of Henry Dawson's motives : what was really in it for him , beyond all that phony 'amateur' altruism ?

So I will have to direct publicity about the series' message past the professional and wannabe professional book reviewing community and onto any and all potential readers.

That will mean asking all sorts of people, from professors to pastors, to read it , talk it up, review it and to pass it on to others.....

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